‘I thought ceramics were recyclable, but they’re not,’ says designer Yoon Seok-hyeon. ‘Because of glazing, ceramic waste just ends up in landfill. I decided to find another, more sustainable way to glaze ceramic pieces.’ By coating ceramics with layers of resin, traditionally used as a lacquer, he discovered that surfaces became waterproof – mimicking the effects of glaze.
‘I didn’t invent this material and technique – I just adapted it to ceramics,’ he explains. ‘It’s a historic craft called ottchil from Korea that’s used on wooden objects. As it’s just tree resin, the feeling of the material is very natural and warm. That’s what I like about it the most.’ Unlike glaze, resin from Ott trees doesn’t need to be fired; plus, it evaporates at a temperature of 900°C, rendering the ceramic beneath re-useable as chamotte (ceramic grit added to clay to give texture).